Judge Denies New Trial on Terri Schiavo’s Catholic Faith and Euthanasia

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Judge Denies New Trial on Terri Schiavo’s Catholic Faith and Euthanasia

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 22, 2004

Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — A local judge on Friday refused to allow a new trial to determine whether subjecting Terri Schiavo to a painful starvation death would violate her Catholic beliefs. That would happen if her estranged husband Michael is allowed to remove the gastric tube that is providing her with food and water.

On Friday, Circuit Court Judge George Greer said he would not order a new trial requested by Terri’s parents Bob and Mary Schindler.

The Schindlers had requested the new trial saying that recent statements by Pope John Paul show the Catholic church opposes removing the feeding tubes of patients like Terri, causing their death.

Terri and her family are active Catholics and they say ending her life would violate her Catholic faith. They argue Terri would want lifesaving medical treatment and rehabilitative care.

In his 4-page order, Greer states that "Nothing has changed. There is nothing new presented regarding Terri Schiavo’s religious attitude and there still is no religious advisor to assist this or any other court in weighing her desire to comply with this or any other papal pronouncement."

However, Greer approved a stay that prevents Michael from removing the feeding tube until at least December 6 so the Schindlers can have an opportunity to appeal his decision.

In a statement related by the law firm of David Gibbs, the Schindlers attorney, the family thanked Greer for issuing the emergency stay.

The Schindlers indicated they will be appealing Greer’s decision preventing the new trial.

At a hearing earlier this month, David Gibbs, a highly-regarded religious liberties attorney, argued that Terri, as a pro-life Catholic who attended twelve years of Catholic school, would likely have followed the Catholic church’s position on euthanasia.

Expanding on the Catholic Church’s pro-life policies on assisted suicide and euthanasia, the Pope in March said that removing the feeding tube of a disabled patient is immoral and amounts to "euthanasia by omission."

Michael’s attorney, assisted suicide advocate George Felos, disputed the claim that the Pope’s statement was sufficient for Judge Greer to overturn his two previous decisions allowing Michael to euthanize Terri.

On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court decided not to allow a rehearing of its unanimous decision to overturn Terri’s Law, the measure that allowed Governor Jeb Bush to protect Terri’s life.

That puts Michael closer to removing Terri’s feeding tube a third time.

Related web sites:

Judge Greer’s decision-
https://zimp.org/documents/102204dismissmemo.pdf
Order of Emergency Stay – https://zimp.org/documents/102204stay.pdf
Denial of Rehearing from Florida Supreme Court – https://www.flcourts.org/pubinfo/summaries/briefs/04/04-925/Filed_10-21-2004_OrderRehearing.pdf
Terri Schiavo’s family – https://www.terrisfight.org